Needs Based Plans & Budget
Every year, counties are required to develop and submit a Needs Based Plan and Budget to the Department of Public Welfare's Office of Children, Youth and Families.
This document, governed by Chapter 3140 under Articles II, VII and IX of the Public Welfare Code, outlines the range of services the county plans to provide and the budget requirements needed to do so.
The NBPB covers a two-year period including the "Implementation Year" (the current year beginning July 1) and the "Needs Based Year" (projection of services and related costs anticipated in the following state fiscal year). The plan outlines all services for both delinquent and dependent children, as well as staffing needs for the child welfare agency and various legal costs. The budget portion of the plan provides projections related to federal, state and local funds which will be used to support planned services.
In creating the NBPB submission, counties are expected to review data and explore trends while working collaboratively with service providers, consumers and their Child Welfare Advisory Board. Additionally, NBPB submissions must contain the signature of the dependency judge and the county commissioners. The judge's signature is not intended to be perfunctory. Instead, the court should be an integral partner in the development process, identifying child/family as well as legal needs. Where possible, these needs should be identified throughout the course of the year (possibly during local Children's Roundtable meetings) and included in the upcoming NBPB submission.
Counties normally receive NBP&B instructions around April, with the actual submission due August 15. It should be noted that the Supreme Court has partnered with the DHS – OCYF to give priority to the Permanency Practice Initiative services including Family Group Decision Making, Family Finding, Family Development Credentialing, the 3-5-7 Model and expedited reviews. As such, funding should be included in the NBP&B for all counties either currently participating in the Permanency Practice Initiative or anticipating doing so in the coming year.
The Pennsylvania Dependency Benchbook also offers a section on the Needs Based Plan and Budget. To view that section of the Benchbook, click here.